The Joy of Constantly Learning
30 years ago, I was admitted to college to study Engineering, but had to wait a year at home with everyone else after high school, due to a change in our education policy in Nigeria. Here comes my mom, (Singer© sewing machine in tow), telling me she wanted me to use my year, to … wait for it …. go be an apprentice to a tailor. wait what?... <insert applicable ‘indignation!’ & ‘the nerve!’ emoticon lol> I was livid! My entitled, slightly self-absorbed teenage mind couldn’t understand the nerve of her asking me to be an apprentice to a tailor when I was well on my way to becoming an ‘Engineer!’. She didn’t get why I was upset and willing to pass on this ‘awesome chance’ to learn something she didn’t get a chance to. I said NO. She pleaded, then threatened, then guilted …. Gosh those tears always got me!, and off I went to tailor apprenticeship. The seamstress was an awesome teacher who taught me attention to detail and helped me discover the creativity and fun in forming patterns that turned into a design/style. Soon I had a few all-nighters just converting designs in my head to a dress that I would wear the next day! My mom told me sewing was a life skill... I 'hmmmmppphed' at her and soon was off to College, my sewing ‘experiment’ behind me.
20 years later in the US, I received some bespoke clothes from Nigeria and took them to a seamstress for what I thought were very minor adjustments. In shock at what she charged me, I bought a sewing machine and made the adjustments myself. Here I was, twenty years later, calling my mom….and telling her 'Thanks Mom. You were right that one never knows when a skill comes in handy'. It came in handy 5 years later when I helped do adjustments for my team for a church event, and again more recently making fabric masks for donation to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic
The joy from constantly learning is from ….
…… the inspiration and empowerment that comes from successfully experiencing something and then looking back at the time when it was so strange, so new. You feel like you could literally do anything.
….. acquiring a new skill, one you never know when it could be useful. I once interned at a real estate legal office during grad school and it felt like such a waste of time, because I couldn’t find its connection with my major (Engineering again), then a few years later we were about to buy our first home and what I learned at that office made it such a smooth and cost effective experience.
…. recognizing how constantly learning is crucial to life’s journey - keeps you challenged, invested, fresh, constantly innovating, and enjoying living. How else are you going to crush your goals and set new ones? Or experience everything on your bucket list? Or keep up with a fast changing world? Or even enjoy the simple things that come with life? How else, if you're not open to constantly discovering and opening up to learn and experience something different
Learning new things doesn’t always have to be about something big or completely strange – you could just give yourself the chance to try out stuff that you always considered but never got the chance to. Like gardening or visiting a museum or driving to the next city, or learning that new cocktail (I've recently considered an 'experiment' in bartending lol), or baking – (which by the way I never learnt how.... recently I have tried making soft pretzels for my boys to varying degrees of disaster and success, but always fun lol, so I will be trying more
So get out there - Read a book, Review that map, Read up on a new culture, watch a movie….. Try something, one thing that you haven’t ever experienced. Then do it again.
Here's to your next adventure! Enjoy.